Episode 86: Sister Carol F. McConkie, a former member of the Young Women general presidency, on building bridges through service, advocacy and education

Sister Carol F. McConkie, a former general officer of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is featured on the Church News podcast. She speaks about her service as the vice president of the NGO Committee on the Status of Women in Geneva, Switze
Sister Sharon Eubank, left, director of LDS Charities and first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency, spoke at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Monday, April 29, 2019. Also pictured are Dr. Azza Karam, center, senior advisor on cul
Elder Oscar W. McConkie III and Sister Carol F. McConkie stand with Hussain M. Alkhateeb, Iraqi ambassador to the United Nations Office at Geneva. Credit: Courtesy Carol McConkie
Missy and Maddy Wilford are photographed with Sister Carol McConkie, former counselor in the Young Women general presidency, who happened to visit the area and asked if she could come visit their family.
Carol F. McConkie greets students after her devotional address. Photo by Ryan Chase Credit: Ryan Chase
Sister Carol F. McConkie and her husband, Oscar, serve as government affairs missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the U.N. in Geneva. Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Sister Carol F. McConkie and her husband, Elder Oscar W. McConkie III, are pictured in front of the United Nations Office in Geneva, Switzerland. They were serving as government affairs missionaries for the Church at the time. Credit: Courtesy Carol McConkie
Sister Carol F. McConkie and her husband, Elder Oscar W. McConkie III, are pictured inside the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. They were serving as government affairs missionaries for the Church at the time. Credit: Courtesy Carol McConkie
Sister Carol F. McConkie, middle left, and her husband, Elder Oscar W. McConkie III, left, are pictured with Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé and Sister Sharon Eubank in Geneva, Switzerland, in September 2019. Credit: Courtesy Carol McConkie
Elder Oscar W. McConkie III and Sister Carol F. McConkie stand with Nahzat Shameem Khan, Fiji’s ambassador to the United Nations Office at Geneva. Credit: Courtesy Carol McConkie
Sister Carol F. McConkie and Elder Oscar W. McConkie’s visit with the Ambassador of Lesotho, Refiloe Litjobo, led to him and his family being baptized. Refiloe, left, his wife, Makananelo and their daughter Kananelo were baptized March 8, 2021. Credit: Courtesy Carol McConkie
Sister Carol F. McConkie, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency, stands with her husband, Oscar W. McConkie III. Credit: Photo by Ravell Call, Deseret News
Young Women General Presidency: Sisters Carol F. McConkie, Bonnie Lee Green Oscarson and Neill F. Marriott pose for a portrait in Salt Lake City, Monday, April 8, 2013. Credit: Ravell Call, Church News

Being raised in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, women are taught that they are beloved daughters of heavenly parents. This truth has helped Sister Carol F. McConkie, a former member of the Young Women general presidency, share the gospel around the world. Now as the vice president of the NGO Committee on the Status of Women, in Geneva, Switzerland, Sister McConkie is serving and empowering women and girls worldwide as she advocates for human rights, education and self-reliance.

Sister McConkie joins this episode of the Church News podcast to speak about the NGO committee and her new calling to lead, with her husband Oscar W. McConkie III, the Church’s Salt Lake Inner City Service Mission.

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Sister Carol F. McConkie: This kind of diversity not only should be valued because it not only builds a bridge, but it creates an opportunity to make friends with people that we might not even have thought of making friends with, and coming to recognize and start to see people the way the Savior sees them. There are so many ways to build bridges. Sometimes it’s just a helping hand. Sometimes it’s a big project. Sometimes it’s just a word of praise or comfort. But in every instance those kinds of bridges become important relationships that help us grow and understand and be more open and be more loving and to feel, in our own hearts, the love the Savior feels for us and for each individual around us.

Sarah Jane Weaver: I’m Sarah Jane Weaver, editor of the Church News. Welcome to the Church News podcast. We are taking you on a journey of connection as we discuss news and events of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Sarah Jane Weaver: Being raised in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, women are taught that “we are daughters of a Heavenly Father who loves us.” For Sister Carol F. McConkie, former member of the Young Women general presidency, this truth has helped her share the gospel around the world. Now as the vice president of the NGO Committee on the Status of Women in Geneva, Switzerland, she is serving and empowering women worldwide as she advocates for women and girls’ human rights, education and self reliance. She joins this episode of the Church News podcast to share how uplifting and empowering women can help bring Christ’s peace to the world. Welcome, Sister McConkie.


Sister Carol F. McConkie: Thank you. What a privilege to be here with you, Sarah, Jane. I have the deepest admiration for you and all that you do, so I’m honored to be part of this podcast.

Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, thank you so much. I have been following the work that you’ve done, especially in recent years with great interest. Why don’t we start and have you tell us what the NGO Committee on the Status of Women is? And what is your role on that committee?

Sister Carol F. McConkie: Fabulous? Well, the Committee on the Status of Women in Geneva is actually a collection of representatives of nongovernmental organizations that are accredited at the United Nations, meaning that they have the ability, the capacity, the right to participate at the United Nations in their role as representatives of these organizations. They also are focused on advocating for women and girls, and helping them to fully realize their individual and collective human rights. The human rights that we are talking about are the human rights designated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was created in 1948, under the direction of Eleanor Roosevelt, the only woman on that committee, by the way. She’s amazing. And so as we come together, we work together and come up with ways that we can influence governments, particularly, and other United Nations organizations, in the advocacy for the rights of women and girls around the world. It’s a global effort, although our committee is located in Geneva, Switzerland, because that is where the seat of the Human Rights Council is. And what’s really fun is these representatives come from many nations. So we have representatives from Ukraine, the United Kingdom, the United States. We have representatives from some of variety of places. And it was interesting to know there are also regional committees on the Status of Women — in Latin America, in Asia, in the Pacific area, and in Africa. And these women also work together. We come together once a year in a forum that takes place in New York City when it’s in person, and virtually, of course, most recently. And that forum is another opportunity to engage women and girls from around the world in issues that are relative to their specific interests and needs.


Sarah Jane Weaver: Can you talk about some of the challenges that are faced by women and girls, and why a committee like this might even be necessary?

Sister Carol F. McConkie: So the biggest challenges that we’re seeing specific to the role of the women in Geneva are an inability to get an education, to find adequate employment, to find proper nutrition, to fulfill roles as women, as mothers and families in ways that are both helpful for them, personally, and to also allow communities and families to progress economically and to realize their full potential. One of the things that I’ve come to understand is the huge degree of discrimination, violence, abuse that women experience around the world. It’s much more than I had ever even imagined. And I had already been aware of these things through my work in the, in the Young Women general presidency of the Church. But the extent of the inequalities and the abuses is remarkable. And it is so important that we provide an opportunity for women and girls to have a voice, to speak up and to be able to advocate on behalf of them — those that don’t have a voice and those who are unable to speak on behalf of those who don’t have a voice. And so that’s fundamentally the purpose of this organization.


Sarah Jane Weaver: I was so impressed when you spoke about who was on this committee, the depth and the breadth and the inclusion of it, it feels like this is an opportunity to build bridges of friendship, to extend understanding, and then also to just monitor and think about the impact of policies and procedures across the globe.

Sister Carol F. McConkie: Exactly. I think it’s important to realize the diversity of this representation. And we have women that come from many cultural places that are completely different from what I knew as a young woman growing up, and what I understand as an adult women in the United States. And so with that diversity in culture, in background, in experience, in race, in so many different ways, we come together and work together. And I think the diversity is also recognized in the organizations that they represent. So for instance, our president represents an organization called Women’s Federation for World Peace. And it is a faith-based organization advocating for peace, specifically for women and girls. We recognize that women and girls in many places are very vulnerable, and so we have an organization called Make Mothers Matter, working specifically to help mothers be able to fulfill their roles, especially those single mothers who really need some help in order to be able to be successful in raising healthy and productive children. Another organization is Optimist International. Another organization is called Safe and Accessible Health for All. And part of their organization is another category called Jumbo Mama. And that Jumbo Mama is focused specifically on helping women have the rights to the health services that they need to be able to have children, and to be able to have them in a way that their children survive, and so to reduce the [infant] mortality rate.


Sarah Jane Weaver: Yeah, I love that organization. What a great name. What a great cause.

Sister Carol F. McConkie: Exactly, exactly. And so as you can see, there are many areas that we find common ground, as a representative of Latter-day Saint Charities, which is one of those non-governmental organizations accredited at the United Nations. We have many places where we intersect, and can come together and advocate together. So for instance, today, I just received a statement that has been sent around to the different organizations requesting whether they want to sponsor this statement. The statement is on the value and the need for human rights education, for children and youth, beginning at an early age, in every nation. That kind of education helps create a culture of understanding for the rights of individuals. And so we look at that. We look at the language. Is it something we want to sponsor and add our name to? And so as all these organizations come together, you start to get a long list of sponsors and it becomes very meaningful when representative governments look at it and say, “Oh, there’s a lot of people out there who are pushing for this, maybe we ought to look at it and ensure that we have human rights education taking place in our country.”


Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, I can’t even tell you how grateful and touched I am, that we have a Latter-day Saint woman who is advocating and fighting for the good of women across the globe. You were recently elected vice president of this NGO Committee on the Status of Women in Geneva. Tell us what that position requires and what you actually do in that role.

Sister Carol F. McConkie: Thank you. You know, honestly, let’s be real here. I’m not sure that I wasn’t elected because nobody else was willing to do it. That could very well be. But I was honored to be asked to stand for that office. And in doing so I felt this increased sense of responsibility to the organization and to my role as a representative of Latter-day Saint Charities and of the Church and to bring to that role, the perspective and the conduct of a disciple of Jesus Christ. The role of a vice president is fundamentally to be support to the president, which is easy to do, because I said, we have much in common. We both understand each other, because of the organizations we represent and also because we are both mothers of seven children. And we start to understand what it means to say, “Excuse me, I can attend that meeting, I’ve got a family situation I need to take care of.” But, then also, as part of that responsibility is to promote the kind of dialogue and the respect that will increase our capacity to work together with the members of the committee — to co-facilitate with her the committee meetings, and also to be willing to take on tasks that I might be assigned that are agreed upon by the committee, such as the responsibility for some external communications, or specifically to monitor the roles of some of the task forces that are working on different items within the committee. To supervise the update of the website was one of the designated roles I was supposed to have, and I said, “I’m sorry, we are going to have to find someone else to take that assignment.” That’s not my specialty. But all that to say, these assignments are done in conjunction with the bureau that I sit a part of, which includes a treasurer and a secretary, a youth representative, and then the president and vice president. And actually, we currently have two vice presidents, and a parliamentarian to make sure that we are following Robert’s Rules of Conduct.


Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, and I was so glad that you referenced your kids. This is obviously just one of so many important hats that you wear. I would love for you to tell us a little bit about you about your family, you and your husband, Oscar W. McConkie III — I love that very official, dignified name — have seven children. Tell us more about you.

Sister Carol F. McConkie: Well, thank you. So, Oscar and I met miraculously. His parents have been called to preside over the Arizona Tempe Mission. When he finished his mission in Spain, he decided he wanted to live with his family as the oldest of eight children. We met at Arizona State University in the library on campus. And so that was a miracle, actually. Actually, it was maybe a little more strategic than that. Because I did know — OK, I am going to a be honest here. I did know, I had heard him speak — he was the LDSSA President — and at the institute, I had heard him speak and I thought, “Aha, that’s what I’m looking for.” And so I placed myself strategically as someone who was reading the Book of Mormon in a spot where I knew he would see me. And there are not that many coeds at Arizona State University reading the Book of Mormon. And it worked. He noticed. So that was the beginning of a wonderful marriage and seven children, now 38 grandchildren. And on my 70th birthday, we had our first great grandchild.

Sarah Jane Weaver: Wow.

Sister Carol F. McConkie: And that is, I will say, my family is the focus and the treasure of my life.


Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, I love that so early on, you knew how to get things accomplished. So that is a skill that has taken you very far. I want to talk a little bit about what it means to you to represent Latter-day Saint Charities, and what that organization does and the role it plays worldwide.

Sister Carol F. McConkie: Latter-day Saint Charities, as you know, is an essential part of the welfare and humanitarian work of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And as a global organization, it is involved in taking its services to the world. Enabling them to do that, again, are the partnerships — those that they work with. And in addition, it is important to recognize that their objective is to not only care for the poor and needy to provide welfare, but to increase the capacity for self reliance. And so Latter-day Saint Charities does a really good job of not only finding partners, but also local resources and local people — volunteers, if you will — who will participate in projects that will increase the capacity and the ability of people to progress and succeed in their communities. So, for instance, you have an area where clean water is not available, which is impacting the health and well being of specifically women and girls who oftentimes have to walk far distances in order to get water. And bringing the resources, providing the training and the ability to put in place a proper water system for that community, not only provides the clean water — which is absolutely essential to good health — but also allows women and girls the ability to maybe go to school, to spend time working in the fields and creating businesses and doing those kinds of things that not only helped them individually, but really do bring great economic relief to the entire community.


Sarah Jane Weaver: And I love these kind of faith-based welfare and humanitarian efforts, that people are doing something to help people physically, motivated by something much higher — by a belief in Jesus Christ and the desire to follow Him and act as He would act. Can you talk about the two great commandments about loving God, about loving others, and how that actually plays out when we talk about serving the world globally?

Sister Carol F. McConkie: I’m glad you asked that question, because I don’t want anyone to think in any way that the kinds of service that Latter-day Saint Charities is engaged in is in any way of themselves. It is fundamentally based on those two great commandments — that we love God and that we love our neighbors as ourselves. And when I think about these two great commandments, especially the first one to love God, why is that so foundational to faith-based humanitarian work? We work with many faith-based organizations. And fundamentally, there is this belief in a God who is over all the earth, and we are His children. And as members of the Church of Jesus Christ, we understand that concept as well as anyone — that we are spiritual sons and daughters of heavenly parents, and that we have a divine nature. And that, as such, we are brothers and sisters, and have a responsibility and accountability to care for one another, and to look out for one another and to enable one another. And so Latter-day Saint Charities, this is the key, and fundamental I guess, the major purpose behind its efforts. And then, of course, because of who we are in that relationship, then we understand that in that accountability that we have, and responsibility we have toward one another, we have that second great commandment to love one another, and to care for one another as we would ourselves. And that becomes so important to love our neighbor. And who is our neighbor? It’s the world. It is truly the world at large, because of this relationship. And with that, in mind, makes all the difference about how we serve. And so we set aside differences, we set aside those cultural things that might otherwise be a point of deterrence or of criticism or of judgment. We don’t go down that path. What we do is recognize that the Savior, in His ministry, reached out to all people, He opened the doors of understanding that even though there was this huge, horrible gap between the Jews and the Samaritans, he closed that gap, because of who individuals are — sons and daughters of God and brothers and sisters in the Lord’s kingdom.


Sarah Jane Weaver: He actually taught that beautiful truth in Matthew 25:40, when he said to all of us, “in so much as you have done this unto others, you have done it unto me.”

Sister Carol F. McConkie: Exactly. And I love that scripture. Because when we realize who the Savior is, and His example — what He did — who did he do it for? He did it for us. And so he’s asking us now, to follow His example, to love others the way He loved us, and to do for them what He would do for them if He were personally here on the earth. And so He includes us as His servants. And what I have come to realize is what a privilege it is, for us to act in His name, to serve our brothers and sisters, in whatever condition they may be in. They need our help. And what I want to also express is how many there are, there is never going to be a shortage of those who are in need of spiritual and temporal lifting and carrying. And that is so important that we recognize that wherever we look, whether we’re at the grocery store, in our own homes and families, at Church — you can almost look at everyone and say so-and-so has a need. And I’m here right now, what can I do about it. And allow the Spirit of the Lord to prompt our actions, our thoughts and to learn to love as the Savior did, rather than to stand in criticism or judgment of our brother and sister. We consider our role, as disciples of Christ, in the work of helping others, specifically the poor and needy. I remember the scriptures from Isaiah — Isaiah 61 — because it is there that we hear the voice of the Lord, say, “the Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings to the meek, to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, to open the prison to them that are bound, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, to give comfort to all that mourn, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for heaviness, that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.” And that is why we do all of these things, because we are the ones He has sent — do this for those that are in need. And if nothing else, we can offer others the garment of praise, just a simple word, to allow someone else to feel valued, needed, and important, regardless of what their circumstances are.


Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, if our audience could see you, they would see that you’re wearing an official missionary badge. Sister McConkie’s husband is president of the Salt Lake Inner City Mission. The two of them are serving together in that capacity as mission leaders. I love the concept of a mission based on building and strengthening self reliance, especially in urban areas, or areas where people need a little extra help and support. Talk to us about that role.

Sister Carol F. McConkie: So we’ve been in this position now for five weeks. And it has been glorious. I have to say, already, we have seen remarkable faith and acts of kindness, and even miracles in this very short time. If this is not pure religion, undefiled, I do not know what is. We have under our direction, about 350 couples, most of them senior — between their 60s 70s, in that age range, maybe a little younger — some are retired, some are not. But the reality is these couples are assigned wards where they work under the direction of the bishop who holds the keys, and then they are assigned to help individuals and families within the ward. And when they recognize what those needs are, they seek the Spirit of the Lord through mighty prayer about what they can do to assist and help these families and individuals make a plan for how they can help themselves. So already, here is something I’ve seen. Here’s an example. One of these missionary couples, the husband is a wonderful pianist. And in the ward they were assigned, he recognized that these individuals in the Salt Lake Valley, would never have the opportunity to attend a concert. And so he decided that he would put on a piano concert where they could invite their friends. And the chapel was filled with all of these people, these neighbors and friends of families who had never come to a concert; he’s continued to do that, and provide a wonderful and fun piano concert for them. Another individual recognize that there was a young woman struggling because she didn’t see the need for her education. She had become defiant about education and was skipping school and not fulfilling her assignments and was really on a path that would take her out of her educational career. And he prayed about what he could do. He asked her what her interests were. And he said, “Well, what, what do you want to do with your life?” Which is a good question. And she said, “All I want to do is go fishing.” And she had never been fishing. She didn’t know what that was. She had read about it, but she didn’t know what it was. And so he and his wife and another couple took she and a friend of hers fishing. And it was the beginning of a change in this young woman’s life. As she started to realize not only was fishing a great experience — and an inspiring, invigorating experience — but she was valued. Someone cared about what she thought and what she wanted to learn. And so that has changed her course, her life course, as she’s tried to learn new talents, new skills and increase her ability. And [she] learned how to do progress, like we’re teaching our youth to do, intellectually, spiritually, emotionally, and — in all four ways —physically as well. So these are the kinds of things we’re seeing among our missionaries. And we love it. And we love what’s happening. And we invite anyone who’s out there to join this mission, because we are about 200 couples under our complement. So there’s more need than we even realize.


Sarah Jane Weaver: And, in a few years, we’ll have to have you and your husband back on the Church News podcast to just talk about all you have witnessed in that process. People who are available or interested in serving an inner city mission can just talk to their bishops, right?

Sister Carol F. McConkie: Correct, yes. And actually, even before that, they can go on the website and fill out the application and then take it to the bishop and go through the proper approvals. And we need everyone who’s willing to serve.


Sarah Jane Weaver: And the folks who promote senior missionary service at Church headquarters will love any plug for their efforts. You can also go on and get information about all opportunities for senior missionary service on For you, this isn’t the first time you’ve ever worn a missionary badge full time. You and your husband served as mission leaders in the California San Jose Mission, right?

Sister Carol F. McConkie: Yeah, it seems like decades ago, our missionaries now are married with a lot of children. Back from 2005 to 2008, we had the privilege of serving in the California San Jose Mission. And working with these young people, again, to see their diversity of backgrounds and experience that they brought to the mission was so important because everyone brought different skills and talents, and made a contribution to the work of the Lord, as they brought the Spirit of the Lord with them.


Sarah Jane Weaver: And after that, you then had the opportunity to serve on the Young Women general Advisory Council, and then ultimately, as first counselor in the Young Women general presidency. What did you learn about advocating for young women and then, ultimately, women in that capacity?

Sister Carol F. McConkie: Fundamentally, again, my first realization was the challenges — the multitude of challenges — that our young women are facing around the world. And, again, the abuses, the violence, the mental health issues, so many different challenges, dysfunctional families, and so forth. And what I realized is that the most important way to advocate for these young women, is to help them understand their identity as beloved daughters of God — right where you started this meeting. As daughters of Heavenly Parents with a divine identity, that light of Christ that is in them, that spark of divinity, that is in them right now. Who they are. They need to realize their purpose and their identity and their destiny because of who they are as daughters of God. And in advocating for them that was so foundational, because that is what helped them understand their value and to give them confidence and to know the source of peace and direction where they could go to find answers to their questions. And to desire to seek a relationship with the Holy Ghost to receive that guidance in their lives. And to understand that they had potential. they have potential to shine forth and to fill the earth with goodness and light, that is in them, and to use their talents and to develop themselves and to progress. Again, it’s kind of helping them make a plan for themselves, helping them say, “What do you want to have happen in your lives? What do you want to be? What do you think it will take? What do you want to learn in order to be able to be who you want to be?” And that’s exactly the children and youth plan that we have going in the Church right now. As they look at the areas of progression — the physical, the intellectual, the emotional, the social, and spiritual areas of progression — in all of those areas, they have capabilities and can progress. So as we advocate — and I’m going to say we now because I’m part of all of us who need to be advocating for women and girls, and for all of them, all our children — that if they can get on that covenant path and understand who they are — their divine identity — and make those kinds of choices that will help them progress on that covenant path and to build their relationships with God and with Christ, it will increase their capacity to build the kinds of relationships that will bring in joy and happiness throughout their lives.


Sarah Jane Weaver: When this is such a timely topic. Just recently, President Russell M. Nelson gives an historic address to young adults in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and says to all of them much the same thing we’re talking about right now. Which is, You need to know your identity. And that identity includes being a child of God, and a child who is a member of the Church and made covenants, and one who is a disciple of Jesus Christ. I love the talk that you gave at BYU Women’s Conference in 2017, where you shared some of the other things that you wanted young women to know, including that they should believe they are a daughter of God, and that they also have a Savior. And then third, that they have an important work to do. I love that what you are doing in the United Nations is inspiring young women to do an important work in their own lives every day.

Sister Carol F. McConkie: Exactly. Understanding that the divinity that is in them, will motivate them and guide them in understanding the work that they have to do in this life, and prepare them for the eternities ahead. It’s a glorious concept. And part of that is keeping an eternal perspective so that we don’t become disrupted and discouraged and dismayed by the kinds of challenges we are seeing in our lives every day. Their experiences can be very challenging, and we want to recognize that. But we also want to honor them for their courage and their ability to keep going and to progress. I think that is why our beloved prophet, President Russell M. Nelson, continues to ask all of us — and especially our youth — to get on and stay on the covenant path. Because the minute they start to make covenants with God, it guides their efforts to be able to fulfill their work on earth.


Sarah Jane Weaver: And almost a decade ago, I had an opportunity, in connection with an assignment I had, covering an event at the United Nations in New York City. And it was the Commission on the Status of Women, the Church was sponsoring a side event. And as part of that side event, Latter-day Saint Charities was explaining some of the good they do around the world. And I was talking to some of the organizers of that event, and ask a question that totally changed the way I feel about Relief Society forever. I said, “Why did you invite the Church here? Why did you ask them to do this side event? And they said, “When a woman joins your Church, you teach her to read, and you teach her about hygiene. And then she learns to teach herself, and then talked about how she has opportunities to lead, and to sit in council and help them make decisions with others who are leaders in any local unit.” And then she said, “And when all of that experience is complete, those women go out in the community and serve.” And it is a beautiful pattern of personal development, that starts inward, and then ends up with everyone focusing outward on strengthening and building others. Do you have some examples of how individual women have lifted and strengthened their community?

Sister Carol F. McConkie: Oh, there are so many. There are so many. I think of individuals who have recognized the need in the community and put together an organization; sometimes just organizing, bringing women together to work on a specific project is wonderful. So, for instance, we have seen it most recently with a refugees coming across the border from the Ukraine. And we see individuals, women specifically, who are organizing and putting together something that may be needed in massive numbers, and getting those sent to the border where these things are most necessary. So for instance, just a few weeks ago, I was in at the Kaysville South Stake, and as part of that meeting they had a service project where they’re putting together hygiene kits and kits for babies, and in a matter of two hours had put together something like 1,400 kits that they were able to get sent off to the Ukraine, to the border. And as these people who are so beleaguered and, I can only imagine how frightened and how overwhelmed they feel, as they come across the border, they get handed soap and mouthwash, toothpaste, and necessary items, so that they can feel clean after traveling under such a horrific circumstances.


Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, isn’t it wonderful that so often as women seek and qualify for personal revelation, that they can then see needs and respond to needs? You know, at Church News, we’ve written quite a bit about the Days for Girls organization, which saw a need and responded and helped young girls be able to attend school even during their menstrual cycle. I’m sure that between the two of us, we could think of dozens and dozens of other examples. And probably one of the most important things is this idea that we have been hearing Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve talked about. And President Nelson has also talked so much about linking arms and building bridges. But Elder Cook says, “People who feel accountable to God should work together.” And it can look different across all kinds of religions. But when we feel an accountability to something greater than man, it is going to impact everything that we do. How is it that we can build bridges and link arms?

Sister Carol F. McConkie: One of the most important things we do is build bridges with people who are different than we are. I was standing in the garden with my granddaughter this morning. And we were watering the garden together. And I shared, I don’t know why, but I said, “You know, Abigail, when I was a little girl, my mother gave me a garden when I was about your age. And all I wanted in it were daffodils, yellow daffodils. And it was so beautiful in the spring, because I had all these gorgeous yellow daffodils. And it made me very happy. But once the season of yellow daffodils was passed, I had a very plain garden.” And I said, “What we need is to have diversity in the garden, with plants that will grow and look different and be different colors, and grow and bloom at different times, and contribute to the beauty of the garden in a variety of ways.” And as I said that, I thought, “That’s exactly a good analogy for what it is we are looking for when we’re building bridges.” We actually are looking for differences, so that we can be that complementarity that is so essential to a life that is rich, and various and that brings knowledge and perspective from a variety of sources. This kind of diversity, should be valued because it not only builds a bridge, but it creates an opportunity to be open to new ideas, to receive greater understanding, to include people to make friends with people that we might not even have thought of making friends with, and coming to recognize and start to see people the way the Savior sees them. We see the beauty in people. And so there are so many ways to build bridges. Sometimes it’s just a helping hand. Sometimes it’s a big project. Sometimes it’s just a word of praise or comfort. Sometimes it’s sitting by someone that you’ve never sat by before and talking to someone you’ve never talked to before. But, in every instance, those kinds of bridges become important relationships that help us grow and understand and be more open and be more loving, and to feel in our own hearts, the love the Savior feels for us and for each individual around us.


Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, I think that is the perfect place to jump off into how we end all of our podcasts. We have a tradition, we always give our guests the last word. And we have them answer the same question. And the question is, “What do you know now?” And so Sister McConkie, “What do you know now after serving Jesus Christ throughout your life as a member of His Church and as a covenant daughter? And what do you know now as you’ve had the opportunity to share that in a venue, working with the United Nations, to support and strengthen women across the globe?

Sister Carol F. McConkie: Sarah Jane, what I know now more than I ever have, is that the gospel of Jesus Christ is all about relationships, beginning with that fundamental relationship with God, and with His Son, Jesus Christ. And as we build those relationships, it increases our capacity to build the kinds of relationships that will bring us joy throughout our lives — the relationships with friends, with neighbors, with family members. And I have learned that when we value the relationships, we value Christ, because Christ was perfect in His relationships. He loved His Father, and he did His will, and He loves us. And He did all things for us. It is true. It’s all about relationships.

Sarah Jane Weaver: You have been listening to the Church News podcast. I’m your host, Church News editor Sarah Jane Weaver. I hope you have learned something today about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by peering with me through the Church News window. Please remember to subscribe to this podcast. And if you enjoyed the messages we shared today, please make sure you share the podcast with others. Thanks to our guests to my producer KellieAnn Halvorsen and others who make this podcast possible. Join us every week for a new episode. Find us on your favorite podcasting channel, or with other news and updates about the Church on

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